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Check out our favorite Dollywood tips in this guide!

Visiting Dollywood, the famous amusement park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, can be an unforgettable experience for the whole family.

With thrilling attractions, live shows, and unique dining experiences, it’s no wonder that this park, co-created by the beloved country superstar Dolly Parton, has been a favorite destination for millions of visitors each year.

the author's four sons by a Dollywood sign
Our four boys at the Dollywood sign in the back of the park

To help you make the most out of your trip to Dollywood, we’ve put together some essential tips that will ensure you have a great time!

First and foremost, it’s important for us to plan our visit wisely. This means considering factors such as the park’s operating hours and peak seasons, staying on top of current promotions and discounts, and familiarizing ourselves with the park layout.

We also need to be strategic in prioritizing attractions and shows, skipping long lines when possible, and taking advantage of lesser-known sights and experiences.

By doing so, we can ensure a smooth and enjoyable day at Dollywood, allowing us to fully immerse ourselves in its southern charm and dazzling entertainment options.

Another crucial aspect of our visit is making sure we stay comfortable, well-fed, and well-rested throughout the day.

This means dressing appropriately for the weather and park activities, finding comfortable footwear, and keeping ourselves nourished with the park’s many dining options.

Additionally, knowing where to find resting spots and where to locate first aid stations can save us headaches and ensure that our Dollywood experience is the best it can be.

the author's kids and friends on the smoky mountain river rampage
Our kiddos with some family friends in summer

Best Time to Visit Dollywood

See our full guide to the best time to visit Dollywood here

Avoiding Long Lines

We recommend visiting Dollywood on weekdays, as they tend to be less busy than weekends. The best time to avoid long lines is usually during the early or late season, such as April or late September.

During these months, most schools are still in session, so there are fewer crowds. Arriving early in the day also helps, as lines tend to get longer as the day progresses.

It’s a good idea to download the Dollywood app before your visit, as it provides information on show schedules, dining options, ride height requirements, ride wait times and a map to help you plan your day efficiently. You can even create “lists” and prioritize your “must-dos” in the park to optimize your time.

Decorations for the Harvest Festival
Wildwood Grove at Christmas

Special Events

Dollywood offers various special events throughout the year, making each visit unique and memorable. Here are some noteworthy events to consider when planning your trip:

  • Spring: Flower and Food Festival (Early April – First Week of June) – This popular event at the park offers beautiful floral displays and delicious food. The best time to visit is before schools let out to experience the festival without large crowds.
  • Summer: Summer Celebration (June – August) – During this time, Dollywood offers extended hours and nightly fireworks. Keep in mind that this season may be busier, so weekdays would be preferable.
  • Fall: Harvest Festival (Late September – Early November) – Enjoy the fall colors and amazing arts and crafts displays. This event is often less crowded than other times of the year, making it a pleasant and peaceful time to visit.
  • Winter: Smoky Mountain Christmas (Mid-November – Early January) – Experience the magic of the holidays with millions of lights, festive shows, and seasonal treats. As one of the highlights of the year, weekends and holidays during the event may be busier, so plan accordingly.

By considering these factors and planning accordingly, we can optimize our visit to Dollywood and make the most of our time at this popular amusement park in the United States.

Planning Your Visit

Visiting Dollywood can be an enjoyable experience for the whole family, but it’s essential to plan beforehand to make the most out of your trip. In this section, we’ll provide tips on using the Dollywood App and Website, Dollywood Tickets and Pricing and Season Passes, and Deals to ensure you have an unforgettable experience.

Dollywood App and Website

Before heading to the park, we highly recommend downloading the Dollywood app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices. The app will make your visit more manageable by providing information on show schedules, dining options, ride height requirements, and even a map of the park. You can create lists of your family’s “must-dos” to help you plan your day better.

In addition to the app, the Dollywood website is a valuable resource where you can find more detailed information and also book your tickets, accommodations, dining reservations, and spa appointments.

Dollywood Tickets and Pricing

It’s essential to know the different ticket options before you arrive at the park. Dollywood offers a variety of ticket types to suit your needs:

  • One Day Theme Park Admission: For a single day at the park.
  • Two-Day Theme Park Admission: For two days of park admission within a three day window.
  • Three-Day Theme Park Admission: For three days of park admission within a five day window.

To save time at the park, consider purchasing a TimeSaver Pass. This pass allows you to reserve your place in line for select shows and rides on a first-come, first-served basis, ensuring that you make the most of your day at Dollywood.

Season Passes and Deals

For those who plan on visiting Dollywood multiple times during the year, it’s worth considering a Season Pass. There are several options available:

  • Dollywood Season Pass: Unlimited visits to Dollywood for a calendar year.
  • Dollywood’s Splash Country Water Park Pass: Unlimited visits to Dollywood’s Splash Country for a calendar year.
  • Two Park Pass: Unlimited visits to both Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country for a calendar year.

If you want an even better deal, look into the Gold Pass or the Diamond Pass. The Gold Pass gives you all the benefits of a regular Season Pass, plus additional perks like free parking, discounts on food and merchandise, and more and the Diamond Pass has even more perks.

To make the most out of your visit to Dollywood, plan ahead and take advantage of the resources, ticket options, and deals available to you. Happy exploring!

Getting to and Parking at Dollywood

Parking Options and Tips

When it comes to getting to Dollywood, there are a few options for parking. There is a vast parking area with multiple booths that open two hours before the park. You can opt for general parking, or there’s also a preferred parking option available for an additional fee. However, there are some ways to get free parking, such as:

  • Parking at Patriot Park: Drive to Patriot Park and park for free in the parking lot. From there, take the Pigeon Forge trolley to Dollywood.
  • Staying in one of the resorts or cabins: Resort guests can use the courtesy shuttle service to/from Dollywood or Dollywood’s Splash Country. Cabin guests get free parking at any Smoky Mountain property and both parks.

Dollywood Trolley and Public Transport

The Pigeon Forge trolley is another great option for getting to Dollywood without worrying about parking. It has a fare each way per person, or you can purchase an all-day pass. If you’re staying in Pigeon Forge, you could take the trolley to Patriot Park and then transfer to the Dollywood trolley.

Using the Dollywood trolley or public transport not only saves you from parking fees but also provides a fun way to explore Pigeon Forge and the surrounding area.

We hope these tips make your trip to Dollywood more enjoyable and hassle-free. Don’t forget to grab some great deals on park tickets and explore everything that Dollywood has to offer!

the dragonflier at dollywood
My eldest and his friend on the Dragonflier

Top Rides and Attractions

Dollywood is an amazing theme park nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. In this section, we’ll cover some of the must-ride attractions, from roller coasters to family-friendly experiences. Strap in and join us as we explore the best that Dollywood has to offer!

Roller Coasters and Thrill Rides

Dollywood has a fantastic lineup of roller coasters and thrill rides. One of our personal favorites is Lightning Rod, a wooden coaster that drops 165 feet and reaches speeds over 70 miles per hour. The Wild Eagle, another top coaster, soars through the sky like a majestic bird, offering breathtaking views and thrilling experiences.

For those who enjoy getting their adrenaline pumping, the Mystery Mine is a must-ride attraction. This indoor-outdoor roller coaster takes you on a journey deep into the earth, filled with sharp twists and turns. Don’t miss the Tennessee Tornado, which marked a new era for Dollywood when it replaced Thunder Express in 1999.

Water Rides and Splash Country

For a fun-filled day of water attractions, head over to Dollywood’s Splash Country. The water park offers a wide variety of slides, pools, and water play areas that cater to all ages. The whole family can cool off and have a blast, especially during those warm summer months.

the author's two youngest children on the lucky ducky ride
Our two youngest riding the Lucky Ducky

Great for Kids

Dollywood also has plenty to offer for younger kids, with Wildwood Grove being an excellent area designed just for them. It features several kid-friendly rides and attractions that are both entertaining and safe for the little ones. Children can explore, have fun, and create lasting memories while parents can take a well-deserved break.

live show at dollywood
One of the live shows we watched at the park

Live Entertainment

Dollywood isn’t just about the rides; it’s also a hub for live music and entertainment. From country music to bluegrass, there’s a live show for everyone to enjoy. During the annual Smoky Mountain Christmas event, guests can delight in special holiday performances that fill the park with cheer.

Experiencing Nature

Finally, one of the most unique aspects of Dollywood is its location in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. This allows visitors to connect with nature, take scenic walks, and even observe majestic bald eagles in their habitats. So, while you’re experiencing the thrills of the rides, don’t forget to also take some time to marvel at the beauty of the surrounding scenery.

You’ve got to try the famous cinnamon bread!

Food and Dining

Famous Treats and Delights

One of our favorite treats at Dollywood is the famous cinnamon bread from the Grist Mill. This mouthwatering delight is a must-try when you visit the park. Trust us when we say that the aroma alone is captivating!

If you’re craving something savory, don’t miss the chance to enjoy some freshly made pork rinds. These crunchy snacks can be found at various food stands throughout Dollywood.

Refillable Souvenir Mugs

Hydration is important during a day at the park, and Dollywood has made it convenient for us with their refillable souvenir mugs. We love to buy one of these mugs on our visit and enjoy discounted refills throughout the park, and some season pass options come with a free mug.

Remember to stay hydrated by stopping at the water fountains and asking for complimentary cups of water at the park restaurants.

Food Festivals

During the Harvest Festival at Dollywood, we always make sure to sample the delicious and unique culinary offerings at the park’s food festivals. These special events showcase the best of Southern cuisine and provide an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

Remember to plan ahead and check the Dollywood app for show schedules, dining options, and more. This will ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for everyone in your group. We wish you a delightful day filled with fun, laughter, and of course, delicious food at Dollywood!

dreammore resort sign

Accommodation and Packages

Hotels and Resorts

When planning a trip to Dollywood, one of the best options for accommodation is Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort. Located near the theme park, this resort focuses on the themes of family and storytelling.

Guests of the resort can enjoy several benefits, depending on package and specials, such as:

  • Complimentary TimeSaver passes
  • Early entry to the park on Saturdays
  • Access to a free shuttle that runs to and from Dollywood
  • A special resort guest-only entrance at the park

The resort not only offers convenience but also provides a great place to rest after a day of fun at the park.

Combining with Other Attractions

When visiting Dollywood, it’s a good idea to take the opportunity to explore other nearby attractions. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must-visit destination. You can combine your Dollywood trip with a visit to the park and make the most out of your vacation.

Dollywood Parks Bundles

To get the best value and experience, consider purchasing bundled passes for Dollywood’s theme park and water park – Splash Country. These bundles often include discounted admission prices to both parks, making it easier for you and your family to enjoy all that Dollywood has to offer. Keep an eye on the Dollywood website for seasonal offers and promotions.

Planning your Dollywood trip with suitable accommodation, exploring nearby attractions, and taking advantage of bundled admission passes can help make your vacation truly memorable.

Additional Tips and Advice

We’ve collected even more helpful tips and advice to make your Dollywood visit more enjoyable and smooth.

Firstly, it’s essential to arrive early at the park. By getting there before the gates open, we can beat the crowd and get a head start on our favorite rides.

When it comes to enjoying the shows, we recommend checking the show schedule ahead of time. This allows us to plan our day around the performances we don’t want to miss. In addition, we should consider arriving at the show venues a little early to secure the best seats.

It’s important to keep our belongings safe during the rides. Instead of paying for lockers, we can take advantage of the ride cubbies provided at many of the attractions. This way, we can store our loose items securely while enjoying the thrill of the coaster.

We always take a backpack with us that includes ponchos (just in case) and our refillable mugs, and we’ve never had an issue leaving it in a ride cubby – and almost all the rides have one (not the water rides so we cover the backpack with one of the ponchos!).

For families with young children, it’s a good idea to visit the measuring station upon entering the park. The staff will provide a wristband indicating which rides our little ones can safely enjoy. It saves time and ensures a great experience for the entire family.

To avoid the Dollywood parking fees, try parking your car at Patriot Park for free and take the Pigeon Forge trolley to Dollywood. Not only will it save us some money, but it also eliminates the hassle of finding a parking spot on a busy day. Or, buy a season pass that includes free parking.

During a long day of fun, it’s crucial to take breaks and fuel up. Keep an eye out for the best dining options, and don’t be afraid to enjoy a meal early or late to avoid the lunch rush. Be sure to check the Dollywood app for menus, restaurant locations, and other useful park information.

Final Thoughts on Dollywood Tips

We hope these tips help make your Dollywood adventure even more enjoyable. Remember to plan ahead, stay organized, and, most importantly, have a great time exploring all that the park has to offer!

We hope to see you there!

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